LAS VEGAS--The Colorado Avalanche rookies participated in their final practice as a group Monday morning at City National Arena before the team's NHL training camp begins later this week.
Following the Avalanche's final game at the Vegas Rookie Faceoff on Tuesday, the next time the prospects and rookie camp invites take the ice will be with the club veterans on Friday at Family Sports Center in Centennial, Colorado.
Monday's 40-minute session at the Vegas Golden Knights' practice facility still had plenty of teaching moments for the players as the coaches continued to install parts of the club's systems, but it was also meant as an aerobic exercise during the practice day of the rookie tournament.
"I think this morning was to just get the legs moving," said forward J.C. Beaudin, a veteran among the rookies with it being his third prospect showcase. "It's three games [in four days], and you just want to get ready for main camp and get a little chemistry between the guys. We'll be ready for the main camp."
The Avalanche is 0-2-0 through the first two games of the Vegas Rookie Faceoff but has shown a lot of positive progress during those contests. Colorado nearly erased a four-goal, third-period deficit on Saturday versus the Golden Knights and played a cleaner overall game on Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks despite losing 5-2.
The results don't matter in the grand scheme of things for the squad, as its more important for the 28 players to be ready to compete for jobs with the club's vets in a few days.
"You obviously want to win, but it is kind of like a warmup practice for the main camp here," said defenseman Josh Anderson, also a rookie camp veteran of three years. "You want to put your best foot forward here and then get ready for main camp."
The San Jose Sharks will be the Avs' final opponent at the Vegas Rookie Faceoff. It marks the third straight year that the two organizations play one another in a pre-season rookie tournament. Tuesday's contest starts at 12:30 p.m. MT and will be streamed live online at ColoradoAvalanche.com (blackouts apply).
D Josh Anderson on the first two games of the rookie tournament: "The first game was getting all the jitters out and stuff from the summer time, but obviously Game 2 was a lot better. We played a lot better hockey than we did against Vegas."
F J.C. Beaudin on playing games again: "It's good to play hockey again. We practice, train all summer, but it's not the same to play a game. We were excited."
D Sergei Boikov on hitting after missing last season with a shoulder injury: "It felt great actually. My style of the game is more physical, so it felt great to hit and get hit."
Below are the forward combinations and defensive pairings the Avalanche used during 5-on-5 drills at practice.
Ty Lewis - J.C. Beaudin - Martin Kaut
Vladislav Kamenev - Igor Shvyrev - Logan O'Connor
Robbie Holmes - Brandon Saigeon - Nick Henry
Cole Reinhardt - Tim McGauley - R.T. Rice
Matthew Boucher - Josh Dickinson - Michael Joly\
Sergei Boikov - Josh Anderson
Alex Breton - Matthew Pufahl
Turner Ottenbreit - Nolan De Jong
Sean Strange - Kevin Davis
Goalies: Justus Annunen and Petr Kvaca
Travis Barron, Nicolas Meloche and Cole Ully did not practice.
IN THE LOCKER ROOM
Video: Justus Annunen at Avalanche rookie camp
Video: J.C. Beaudin talks Avs at Vegas Rookie Faceoff
Video: Josh Anderson at Avalanche Rookie Camp
Video: Sergei Boikov is back at full health